Analysis of Meat Tenderness
 First in Full Range PDA Spectrometer, Spectroradiometer and Spectrophotometer Systems
1 Canal Street  ◊  Unit B1
Lawrence, MA 01840  USA
Tel: 978 687-1833  ◊  Fax: 978 945-0372

Copyright © 2012 Spectral Evolution, Inc
The SM-3500 can be used to gauge the tenderness of beef, quickly and non-destructively anywhere in the
meat processing or packaging line - from quickly analyzing a large number of beef carcasses to helping to
qualify adulterants in thawed minced beef.
Meat processing typically includes both slaughtering and
packaging. Whether processing chicken, pork, or beef, meat
processing plants are concerned with speed and quality. Color,
texture, and sensory appeal are important characteristics for the
industry. In addition, the desire of health-conscious consumers
to know the nutritional data of foods, including meat, has led to
the use of NIR spectroscopy as a tool for analyzing both raw and
processed meat. Using VIS/NIR spectroscopy can allow meat
processors and packagers to meet the latest demands of more
health conscious consumers, market price pressures, and
increasingly strict industry standards.

Traditional grading by marbling typically results in categorization
as either Choice or Select. With better tenderness measurement,
many Select graded steaks might actually be classified as
“Tender Select” and could be sold at a higher price that was still
attractive to the consumer. Using a spectrometer with a contact
probe specifically designed for this application, could provide a
fast and more accurate method for grading beef than traditional
intra-muscular marbling.

In general, tough meat absorbs more light than tender meat.
Reflectance values associated with wavelengths between 552-
930 nm can be primarily used. The VIS/NIR measurements were
used to predict slice shear force values. "Tough" was greater
than the predicted median, while "tender" was less than the
predicted slice shear force value.

Meat tenderness analysis could be accomplished with a
SM-3500 with a three array detector
configuration covering the entire spectrum of UV/VIS/NIR:
  • 512 element Si array – 350-1000nm
  • 256 InGaAs array – 970-1900nm
  • 256 InGaAs array – 1900-2500nm

Using the SM-3500, a large number of beef carcasses could be
analyzed, non-destructively, in a short amount of time. Once the
spectra are captured using the SM-3500’s DARWin Data
Acquisition software, the data is saved in ASCII files for
immediate use with no pre-processing required. The data can be
analyzed with many different third party chemometrics software

Other potential applications for NIR spectroscopy could be the
evaluation of the chemical lean value (fat content) of ground
beef and meat trimmings, as well as the detection and
qualification of adulterants in fresh and thawed minced beef, as
well as:
  • Prediction of color, texture, and sensory characteristics of
    beef steaks
  • Measurement of chemical lean (CL) and fat content in meat
    trimmings and ground beef
  • Detection and quantification of adulterants in
    frozen/thawed ground beef
  • Predicting tenderness and color in beef
  • Effects of storage time and temperature on chicken breast
  • Prediction of sensory characteristics of lamb for sorting
    into quality classifications
  • Discrimination between fishmeal, meat meal, and soy meal
  • Analysis of the chemical composition of meat for nutritional
  • Rapid classification for sorting of beef carcasses in the
 First in Full Range PDA Spectrometer, Spectroradiometer and Spectrophotometer Systems
SM-3500 portable spectrometer
Lightweight and rugged sample contact probe dfor reflectance applications
  • Easy measurement of  surface reflectance at 350-
  • Comfortable pistol grip with built-in 5 watt tungsten
    halogen light source
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Plugs directly into the SM-3500 for use anywhere in a
    processing or packaging plant